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    Another Spring Tree Planting Complete

    ATG eN18Landcarers  active members, Paul and Cathryn McFarland recently completed another spring tree planting and have contributed the following article to the Armidale Tree Group Newsletter, Number 119 Spring Edition, November 2020.


    ATG trees eN18Fifteen years’ ago, we decided to undertake planting native vegetation on our small property east of Armidale.

    Our block was originally part of a larger sheep grazing property.

    When we originally purchased the land there were few trees, some native grasses and lots of different weeds on the land.

    Our initial efforts went into building a house and establishing a garden, especially trees, in the house yard.

    Once this was under control (always an on-going task, as many of you reading this will have experienced in your own situation), we then turned our attention to the rest of the property.

    Every year since 2006, we have planted native vegetation in strategic corridors around the property.

    Every year trees have been supplied by the Armidale Tree Group (ATG).

    Every year our core planting has been achieved with the help of friends who have willingly volunteered their time to assist.

    Although the group has varied from year to year, Robyn, Peter, John and Karin (pictured above) deserve special mention, having formed the core of this group throughout.

    Planting days have been hard work, but also an enjoyable social event, supplemented with a BBQ lunch and cold refreshments (beers being reserved until after the working day is done).

    To date, the volunteers have helped plant about 5,000 trees and shrubs.

    In recent years we have been able to accelerate our planting rate by obtaining grant funds from the Local Land Services and Southern New England Landcare.

    This has meant that in addition to our own planting efforts, an additional 2,300 plants have been added.

    This year we self-funded another 900 trees and shrubs.

    The ATG has provided the trees and the labour for planting the grant-funded works, in past years, and this year’s planting.

    Of all the people that need to be acknowledged in making the plantings possible, one person above all needs to be mentioned, the ATG’s Rob Johnson. Rob and his team are responsible for propagating the plants and managing the orders. 

    When we stand back and look at the work completed, we appreciate the magnitude of everyone’s efforts and the lessons we have learned. Some years have been more successful than others. Annual weather conditions seem to have played a key factor in the success of plantings, including establishment and rate of growth. The highly variable soils on our land have also proved a challenge. Some lessons are more obvious than others, such as: don’t ever, ever think that however much you rinse a spray tank it will not remain contaminated; trees planted during the worst of the drought can thrive if water can be kept up to them; mulching trees is only an advantage in certain locations; older stock respect fences, but calves will often find a way through electric fences and damage seedlings and young trees.

    Different techniques have also been tried, but early preparation, deep ripping and mounding have proven best, with regular, follow-up watering a must.

    Now, onto fencing, watering and weeding (and planning next year’s planting).

    Image - ATG staff planting trees, 2020 (Photo: P. McFarland).

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